Alliance member Zavod VOZIM, Slovenia, has given its new drunk-driving campaign a striking and intriguing slogan: “Heroes drive in pajamas.” The initiative addresses the equally startling statistics that, in Slovenia, every third crash occurs from drunk driving, and 22 is the average age that a current wheelchair user lost the use of their legs. Crash rates are highest outside of the main cities, where there is a lack of public transport, and the majority of crashes occur in December.
The slogan is explained by the longer message, displayed on posters in the toilets of more than 400 bars around Slovenia: “It’s easier to get over your mom in her pajamas in front of the club, than to get over a drunk driving accident. Make sure you get home safely.” To reinforce the message, on Saturday 9 December, Zavod VOZIM volunteers, who are themselves wheelchair users as a result of road traffic crashes, put on pajamas and gave free rides home to young people from parties in three Slovenian towns — Brežice, Idrija, Slovenske Konjice. In these towns, bus and taxi services are nonexistent, and crash rates for young people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are significantly higher than in the main cities. The campaign also featured open discussions in the three target towns to connect road safety professionals with teenagers to address the attitudes that lead to drunk-driving crashes, as well as a media campaign endorsed by Slovenian celebrities from sport and entertainment.
The event proved to be a fun way of promoting a serious point. One volunteer driver said, “I was injured at the age of 21. I think that actions like these should happen more, because they are a great opportunity to raise awareness in young people and everyone else. Everyone, who joined me on the safe rides home was very excited about this idea. I also participated in the open debate in my town, Idrija, and is good to see some changes are on the way so my story will not become the story of other young people.”
Beyond Saturday’s events is a wider national advocacy goal. Zavod VOZIM are advocating with the Ministry of Transport for a reduction in the permitted blood alcohol concentration (BAC), stricter drunk-driving laws, and more police enforcement. At the local level, they have formed action plans with practical and strategic outcomes, including party buses, campaigning for local governments and event organizers to consider free transport from events, and preventative workshops in high schools.
“Heroes drive in pajamas” is spearheaded by David Razboršek, one of the 2017 cohort of Alliance Advocates. “Knowledge learned in Advocate training changed the whole concept.” he says. “It helped us define measurable goals for the changed attitudes and behavior we want to reach. So we added different layers of advocate work to the campaign with a clear goal: to influence decision makers to make a change and include youth as active members.”
See the campaign video HERE.